Most recently, Einstein and Graf collaborated—this time as director and creative director—on the Gold Lion-winning "You Can Say Anything With a Smile" campaign for Crest. The spots—out of Saatchi & Saatchi/New York, where Graf is now CCO—are pitch perfect examples of the kind of dialogue-driven comedy Einstein has specialized in throughout his career. "What I'm trying to do is direct what I liked to write in advertising, and this is what I liked to write. I loved writing for actors. I loved putting words in their mouths." In "Bulldozer," arguably the best of the Crest spots, a cheerful construction worker unflinchingly explains to a group of disappointed children that he's about to destroy their playground.
"I kind of feel like maybe everything I've been doing through advertising up until now was just warm-up," Einstein says. "It was just preparing me to do this because all the things that I love found a way to come together with directing." Not that he would have done things differently. "It's helpful that I have an advertising background, because more than most people I do understand what it's like to face a blank page. I feel like I have responsibility to protect the people who are thinking of those ideas. I like that. I feel like that's a nice thing to bring to a project."
Read about Woof Wan-Bau, another of our 2008 Directors to Watch.