I was quite surprised (as I'm sure you were) to see Microsoft suddenly marketing "the cloud" to regular consumers as if it was the most natural thing in the world. In recent TV spots, Microsoft cheerfully shows you how you can use the cloud to more quickly upload, edit, and share photos and videos with friends and family. The spots are loaded with fun, subliminal cloud sketches too. So what's the angle? Why not just invite people to upload photos online? Here are a few ideas:

1. Because Microsoft is "all in" for the cloud. That's not to say Microsoft has abandoned its bread and butter, but cloud computing is one market where Microsoft doesn't want to hold back its cards. Read a bit about Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, and Exchange 2010. Microsoft is taking its hottest products and making them increasingly "cloudy."

2. Because you have to start the branding somewhere. Microsoft has been talking about the cloud to businesses for years, but it's a relative unknown in the consumer space, even though there are plenty of cloud solutions that ordinary people use every day. If Microsoft is really going to help spur people toward familiarity and positive feelings about the cloud, the company has to start by making it a familiar concept with the masses.

3. Because the cloud is brilliant to consumers. Think about the advantages of the cloud: fast, scalable, affordable. In other words? Easy. And all the concerns about the cloud—data integrity, security, lack of control—are really not very top-of-mind for consumers. So why not market the cloud as a smoking gun?

Enough about that, though. Below are a few sample videos. Feel free to continue the conversation on Twitter.