When the team that reports to me switched from a waterfall development method to extreme programming, we decided we would actively try the shared code ownership practice. One of the recommendations of that practice was consistent formatting. We didn't have long battles, but we had dissent in the team that could not be resolved.
We were coding in Java, so we decided we would adopt Sun's Java coding standard. We were then delighted to find the open source version of jalopy which was able to format the code to enforce that coding standard.
We made that switch in 2003, and the team adapted very comfortably to having the code formatting fixed each time they compiled the code. The formatting step was an integral part of the build process, and was supported by a nightly automated task which checked out all the Java code, formatted, and checked in anything that was changed by the formatting.
That was over 5 years ago, and that code base is still being developed, still being actively formatted to a single consistent style, and I believe the developers on the project are glad for the consistent formatting. Comparing file versions is easy, and no time needs to be given to making formatting consistent. It will be made consistent by the tool.
I believe the program astyle can do the same thing for other languages, as can indent for C.
The details of the standard seem to have been less valuable to us than the fact that there was a standard and it was automatically enforced.