When it comes to brand recognition, Target has some of the strongest in the retail industry. The company’s name is reinforced by its red and white logo—a literal target—which can also be seen painted around the eye of its mascot, a Bull Terrier named Bullseye.
However, there is one giant red concrete sphere that caught my attention recently.
While at first glance they appear to be an aesthetic feature to accompany the big, bold, red bullseye logo of the brand, those big red spheres outside Target stores actually serve a much more important purpose.
Those big, red balls in front of many Target stores are called bollards, and they are there for customers’ safety. Placing the two-ton concrete balls at the storefront makes it harder for cars to drive onto the curb and through the doors — looking nice is just an added bonus.
Target’s bollards became popular in 2014 when an Alabama couple went viral for posting daily selfies with them using the hashtag #TargetBalling. For 365 days the couple went to Target and found a way to creatively take a picture with the ball — like turning it into a Blow Pop or dressing it up to look like a turkey.
Even though the bollards are meant to keep customers safe from parking lot accidents, the concrete balls have proved to be dangerous in their own way.
In 2016, a New Jersey mom sued Target for $1.6 million after her 5-year-old son fell off one of the balls and was seriously injured. In the suit, she said the bollards are a “nuisance that attracts children to play” on top of them.
Additionally, in 2011, Target dressed up the bollards to look like beach balls as part of the brand’s summer campaign. They promptly removed the covers days later after customers were concerned children would try to kick them. And in 2017, a woman filed a lawsuit against Target after one of the bollards broke loose and hit her car.
Watch the video report below: