When marketers at PepsiCo were planning the February 2018 launch of bubly, a new line of flavored sparkling water, they knew they wanted to make a splash, of course. But the campaign also had to be playful, entertaining, and relevant, to better emphasize the brand's core message. "Our mission is to help people crack a smile every day at the moments they need it most," says Todd Kaplan, VP of the water portfolio at PepsiCo North America Beverages.

That's why Kaplan and his team decided to go all-out with animated GIFs. Invented in the 1980s as a way to pack animated images into the smallest possible file size, GIFs — short for graphical interchange format — are a brief series of images that loop continuously on their own, without anyone having to hit play more than once (if at all). In the age of social media and instant messaging, they've found a renewed popularity as a simple and fun way for people to express reactions, emotions, sentiments, and other complex ideas. In fact, Facebook Messenger users sent more than 18 billion GIFs in 2017, according to Facebook.