men's health cover scandal

This story is so weird. Men's Health magazine in the US has been caught repeating the same coverlines (word for word), and the editor has defended it by saying it's part of an "overall branding strategy". Seriously - WTF kind of answer is that?

These two magazines are two years apart - December 2007 and December 2009.

I just don't get it. Coverlines indicate the articles that are inside the magazine, yeah? So doesn't this mean they're just recycling the exact same content in each issue?

Editor Dave Zinczenko defended his cover to Mediaite, where he argues that it's all kosher because the magazine has different covers for its subscribers and for the newsstand. Right. That clears everything up...
"The newsstand coverlines are a tool that help us reach the maximum number of guys possible, on promises we know we'll fulfill every issue. For many magazines, certain cover subjects -- from lines to celebrities -- are an important part of their newsstand branding. But for the 80 percent of readers who get our subscriber copies, the lines are totally different and reflect the breadth and depth of our reporting with the 12 million readers we serve each month. Rest assured -- it's this originality and reporting rigor that's made us the biggest men's magazine brand in the world."
I understand that the same concepts get recycled in all magazines, but the exact same cover lines is a bit much. Gawker did a little more digging and found that MH has actually been reusing coverlines for several years - they appear to have four different cover templates on the go.

It's just got me thinking... in an environment where ad dollars are shrinking and mags are competing with the internet, can they really afford to be that unoriginal?