Men’s Health is providing Mediaite with further clarification about the way they choose cover lines following our post on the similarities between the newsstand cover of their December 2009 issue and their October 2007 issue, which were first pointed out by Perez Hilton.
Men’s Health editor-in-chief David Zinczenko has passed along a number of the magazine’s subscription covers, which he says make up nearly 80 percent of their distribution versus the 20 percent comprised by newsstand covers like the ones Hilton discovered.
Today, both Gawker’s John Cook and Daily Finance’s Jeff Bercovici dug further into the matter and found that a number of newsstand cover taglines had been reused by Men’s Health in the past few years. Cook has whipped up some handy animated GIFs of similarly-taglined covers that show, among other things, that “The December 2007, May 2008, and December 2008 issues all offer “Flat Belly Foods,” guidance on how to “Make Good Sex Great.”
An insider at a major women’s magazine says that the practice of recycling cover content from issue to issue isn’t unique to Men’s Health: “lots of women’s magazines do the same thing, though they may change both wording and layout.”
To recap: the bone of contention on Zinczenko’s end is that covers which are sold on newsstands are different from covers which are sold to subscribers. In his latest statement to Mediaite, Zinczenko defends Men’s Health‘s reuse of cover lines as the product of good marketing research: “Twenty years of Men’s Health has certainly produced several lines that have proven themselves effective at newsstand, which makes up about 20 percent of our print run. We plan to keep using the most effective marketing tools to reach the largest market we possibly can, and continue to reward readers with practical, positive, life-altering service information. And we’ll continue to break new stories as we do every issue — as reflected in these covers.”
As an illustration of his point, Zinczenko passed along this year’s subscription covers, which we’ve run alongside the newsstand covers below. Note that for two months — October, which featured Obama, and November — there is little apparent difference between the lines on the two covers, but there is a fair amount of difference for the rest.
Newsstand covers are on the left, and subscription copies are on the right:
and, of course, December:
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