In this research, we explored how the green animation advertising affect green brand love and green customer citizenship behavior. We found that three attributes of green animation advertising—reliability, attractiveness, and informativity—have the positive associations with green brand love. Moreover, this study shows clearly that green brand love is the determinant of green customer citizenship behavior. And we also confirmed the mediating role of green brand love between green animation advertising and green brand citizenship behavior.
The positive associations between three dimensions of green animation and green brand love confirm the results of Cristela et al.  that animation advertising can be a signal for consumers to generate confidence about the brand, hence creating brand love . This study extends the application of animation advertising in green context, and confirms the association between green animation advertising and green brand love. Animation advertising should stress the issue of green in terms of the credibility of advertising, design attractiveness and eco-friendly information, so that consumers can love the green brand.
In addition, prior research suggested that those customers loving the brand tend to perform some positive behaviors to maintain a loving relationship, such as brand loyalty . This loving connection is beneficial to customers’ voluntary behaviors related to environmental activities . Our work furthers the research by confirming the role of brand love influencing customer citizenship behavior in green setting. Those who love the environmentally-friendly brand tend to perform voluntary behaviors in assisting the brand’s activities. This research contributed to the role of green customer citizenship behavior as an outcome of green brand love in the green animation advertising context.
Finally, this research applied the theory of SOR to examine the stimuli of animation advertising in generating brand love and customer citizenship behavior in green context. The finding is congruent with the study of Hong et al.  that animation advertising can enhance consumers’ feelings and behaviors. We further confirm the role of green animation advertising influencing consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. The result helps us understand the role of green animation advertising influencing customers’ attitude and behavior, and this enables companies to conduct suitable marketing strategy in animation activities.
This study advances our knowledge via the following contributions. First, the research extends the understanding about how the attributes of green animation advertising influencing customers’ attitude and behavior. Second, the study examines the possible relationships between green animation advertising, green brand love and green customer citizenship behavior in China’s setting. What’s more, with the growing role of brand love , some theories were used to capture the concept of brand love , such as social exchange theory , social identity theory  and attachment theory . This research enriches the area by using the theory of stimulus–organism–response (SOR) to explore factors influencing brand love in green context.
From a theoretical perspective, first, our study fills the research gap by uncovering the role of green animation advertising influence consumers’ branding attitudes and behaviors. We made the significant departure of identifying three attributes (reliability, attractiveness, informativity) of green animation advertising that affect green brand love and green customer citizenship behavior. The related research in green animation advertising is relatively insufficient, with the growing role of this issue, this study provides a base to understand more about the application of green animation advertising in customers’ psychology and behaviors. Second, by confirming the mediating role of green brand love between green animation advertising and green customer citizenship behavior, the result enables researchers to expand SOR theory related to green animation advertising in the marketing and advertising industry.
In practical management, it is necessary to stress the attributes of reliability, attractiveness, and information when developing green animation advertising strategies seeking to influence consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. First, the marketers can stress the green attribute in advertising to make consumers trust the advertisement. The reliability of advertising can strongly influence an audience’s reaction to advertisements and the advertised brands . Second, to direct consumers to love the eco-friendly brand and perform some positive behaviors, advertisements need to attract the attention of consumers and spark their interest with attractive environmental animation advertising elements. Third, it is also necessary to produce advertisements with environmental messages that draw consumers’ attentions.
This study has some limitations. First, customers’ evaluation of the green animation advertising could differ based on culture. How culture affects customers’ perception of green animation advertising needs further investigation. Second, this research was conducted only in Apple’s animation case. Hence, the results may not be generalizable to other contexts. Third, this study only tested the relationship between specific constructs. Maybe more variables can be added to enrich the research area. Finally, most respondents are concentrated in the age of 20–30, future study can gather more samples to generalize the findings.
Directions for future research
This investigation is based on the data from China’s consumers. When exploring causal relationships, future longitudinal data can be used to comprehend causality issues. Moreover, future research could examine additional antecedents of brand love in the green context. Future research could consider other commercial activities that might enhance customers’ green brand love and green customer citizenship behavior. What’s more, future research can apply the experimental methods and manipulate different forms of green advertising animation to generalize the findings in this area.