Microsoft Ad Calls for Truce With Apple, if Only for the Holidays

Spot Is More Brand Oriented, Less Confrontational Than Previous Holiday Ad

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Call it the Christmas Truce of 2015.

Last year Microsoft ran ads comparing its Surface pro 3 to Apple's Mac Book Air for its holiday push, but this year the marketer is calling for peace with Apple in a more brand-oriented ad for the holidays.

The spot, which will air on TV Dec. 3, features Microsoft store employees -- along with a Harlem children's choir -- singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth" in front of Apple's store on 5th Avenue in New York. It was created by Microsoft's agency, McCann's M:United.

Kathleen Hall, corporate VP-global advertising at Microsoft, said that because New York has strict security rules, Microsoft had to get permission from Apple to perform the song on the store's plaza. Apple, she said, knew Microsoft would be filming something, they just weren't sure what. In the spot, Microsoft employees begin singing, while Apple employees spill out of the store to watch. Employees from the two rival companies hug, a move Ms. Hall said was a moment of "setting differences aside and coming together."

The spot will air on TV in a 60-second version, while a 2-minute one will run online. The ad will be promoted on social media beginning today, but Ms. Hall said that the promotion on social media won't be significant. "We find when we put stuff out there it can take a life of its own," she said. "We're not doing too much to push, just enough to get it out there."

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