Apple's Holiday 'Surprise' Commercial Using Disney's 'Up' Score Has Social Media Very Emotional

Apple and Disney are on opposite sides of the streaming wars, but the tech giant had no issues with using a piece from Michael Giacchino's Oscar-winning score to Pixar's Up in a new commercial designed to tug at our heartstrings this holiday season. The full, three-minute commercial shows two young girls using Apple's iPad to make a slideshow of family photos, including pictures of their recently deceased grandmother. The commercial worked, sending Twitter users to the tissue box after the commercial first aired.

The ad is titled "The Surprise," and begins with parents who give their daughters an iPad to keep them quiet on a trip. Once they see a home video of their grandfather's wedding and see their deceased grandmother, they are inspired to create a family photo slideshow. In the end, they give the iPad to their grandfather, who breaks into tears at the sight of his wife.

"The Surprise" was created by TBWA/Media Arts Lab and Smuggler's Mark Molloy, reports AdAge. Its message is that while parents might feel a bit of guilt about giving their children an iPad to keep them out of their hair, they are enabling their creativity.

The full, three-minute version of "The Surprise" has more than 687,000 views on YouTube since it was released on Nov. 25.

The plot also feels similar to the now-legendary opening sequence of Pixar's Up, which shows how Carl Fredericksen (Ed Asner) and his wife Ellie fell in love. The sequence ends with Ellie's death, shortly after Carl began planning a trip to Paradise Falls. Up remains one of Pixar's most beloved films, and became only the second animated film nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 2010. The film also won Oscars for Giacchino's score and Best Animated Film.

Apple's decision to go with a commercial using the most famous part of Giacchino's score comes at an interesting point in the company's relationship with Disney. The two are both competing for viewers after launching their own streaming services with original content, Disney+ and Apple TV+. Back in September, Disney CEO Bob Iger formally cut ties with Apple by leaving Apple's board of directors.


“I have the utmost respect for Tim Cook, his team at Apple and for my fellow board members,” Iger said in a statement at the time. “Apple is one of the world’s most admired companies, known for the quality and integrity of its products and its people, and I am forever grateful to have served as a member of the company’s board.”

Photo credit: Apple/YouTube