Target Stores Go on a Heath Kick

By Marisa Nobs

The line of junk food products present at many retail and food stores’ cash registers is all too familiar. One chain, Target, is seeking to change that by replacing them with healthier options, such as granola bars and Fitbit products. Of course, this move is a direct result of the two companies forming a partnership, but still, props to Target for taking away the looming temptation of packaged diabetes.

To help promote a healthier lifestyle among its employees, Target is providing them with free Fitbit Zips, which track a person’s daily activity. With the retail price set at $60, and Target’s willingness to subsidize the cost of employees purchasing a more expensive Fitbit, the megastore is clearly investing a lot more than time into this project. Don’t fret; they aren’t stopping there. Employees will be eligible to partake in a month-long competition consisting of fitness challenges, ultimately competing for the grand prize of selecting a charity to donate $1 million dollars to.

It appears as though Target is aiming to change its image, again. Although the underlying goal is profit, the potential benefits for Target shoppers and employees justify it. When the company first started out, it had a less than sparkling reputation as a low-class discount store. When trying to buy ad space in Vogue, Target received a letter of rejection that stated, “We don’t want your money, because including a brand like Target would diminish the quality of our advertising.” Ouch.

With the right approach and investments, Target became what it is now a dominating force in the retail marketplace. This month, it featured a twenty-page spread in Vogue. However, with people now becoming more health-conscious, the company needs to keep up. This is why it is taking dramatic steps to create an association between Target and healthy-living. It is mildly manipulative, but also clever.

There is no guarantee if it will work, though. A study conducted by Endeavour Partners concluded that half of 6,200 people who bought a strap-on fitness device stopped using it. If people who invested their own money in a device don’t commit to it, then it is unlikely people will do it when receiving the product for free. Regardless, just the act and publicity may be all that Target needs to update their image as planned.

There is no denying that companies all aim to adjust to the changing world in order to keep the money rolling in, but at least Target is doing it in a way that may slightly help combat obesity in America. Hopefully, it will even start a chain reaction (pun intended) among other stores.

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