Need to reboost your career? Have a book, movie or television show to promote? If you're a celebrity, dropping a bombshell or even your clothes seems to be an increasingly popular way to go.
Jennifer Aniston and Kate Winslet shed their clothes for magazine covers out the same month as their latest films.
Paula Abdul, making the rounds of ABC's morning shows a month before the season premiere of "American Idol," dropped the bomb that the "Idol" producers had allowed a woman who had been stalking her for 17 years to try out because it would make good television.
Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, who once campaigned for presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, trashed McCain on a conservative radio show ahead of his book, "Fighting for the American Dream."
It's all designed to get us talking and -- celebrities hope -- buying their books, seeing their films and tuning into their shows.
"Once you become a public figure, everything in your life is a business," Ian Drew, editor at large of Us Weekly, told ABCNews.com. "It's Superstar Inc. Thus, everything you do is timed towards how you can make money off of it. People that say otherwise to protect celebrities simply don't understand how the business works. Everything is done by choice and with careful planning, including supposed reactions. Like the old song, you've got to use what you've got if you want to get ahead."
These days, celebrities literally bare it all. Promoting her new film "Marley and Me," which opens Christmas Day, Aniston wears nothing but a man's tie on the December cover of GQ.
Naked on the Cover of GQ Magazine and Vanity Fair
Winslet, who recently received two Golden Globe nominations for her latest films "The Reader" and "Revolutionary Road," can be seen on the December cover of Vanity Fair, her hair teased into a '60s style, wearing only a white overcoat and platform heels.
"We are seeing more because society is just more permissible," Drew said. "Twenty-five years ago, George Michael couldn't even sing 'I Want Your Sex' on the radio. Now anything goes. The bar has been lowered -- or raised -- depending on how you look at it. We've gotten looser, our morals are less restrained. Elizabeth Taylor would have been doing it back in the day if she could!"
No Stigma for Jennifer Aniston Posing Nude
"The stigma about nudity does not exist anymore," said longtime Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman. "You can find nude pictures of almost every male and female celebrity on the Internet, and most of them are real. Paris Hilton became famous not in spite of but because of a sex tape. Kim Kardashian became known for a tape. Younger people don't judge that issue."
"Sex sells and stars know it," Drew said. "And keeping up their profiles is how they get those roles. You gotta be hot or nobody wants to hire you."
But occasionally a scandal like the racy Miley Cyrus pictures in Vanity Fair serves as a reminder that some gray areas remain.
"My view of Miley Cyrus is that now the strategy to merchandise young girls is to prostitute them up," Eric Dezenhall, a Washington, D.C.-based crisis management expert, told ABCNews.com.
Dezenhall, the author of "Damage Control," is uncertain of the payoff for celebrities who show skin. "It's really the kitchen-sink approach," he said. "Nobody knows if it will have an impact. You know if you don't try, it certainly won't. So you throw the kitchen sink at it."
Is it all part of a strategic plan to wring the maximum exposure? Dezenhall says a lot of things celebrities do is driven by their personalities and egos and not by their publicists and managers.
"Don't assume that they're getting advice or that they are listening to it," said Dezenhall, who added that he works with fewer celebrities than he used to. "A lot of these folks are doing what they want to do, because it's often just an extension of their natures."
When it comes to disclosing personal information or dropping titillating news, it's only natural that it occurs when a celebrity has a new project.
"Most celebrities don't do interviews unless they have something to promote," said Bragman, whose new book is "Where Is My Fifteen Minutes?" "If you have a disclosure to make, you want to hold it until you have something to promote. The only caveat is you don't want the disclosure to be bigger news than what you're promoting."
Celebrity Disclosures: Books and Interviews
Bragman said that when Owen Wilson's movie "The Darjeeling Limited" came out just after his suicide attempt, Wilson only gave one interview -- to the director and it appeared on MySpace.com. "And that was the limit of that particular incident," he said. "If asked about it, he can say he talked about it, even though he didn't really go into it."
Dezenhall said a lot of disclosures, like Jane Pauley announcing that she is bipolar in 2004, come out as part of a book the celebrity is promoting. Pauley was promoting both her memoir, "Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue," and a new talk show.
"It comes down to either a tactical hook or a damage control inoculation device," Dezenhall said. "You attract people to the book and you deprive your adversaries of being able to reveal something bad on their terms."
One has to wonder if Joe the Plumber's recent turnabout on McCain is something of a tactical hook to get readers to buy his book.
And then there are all those rumors and innuendos that the tabloids thrive on, like who is pregnant and who's dating whom. Dezenhall said don't be surprised if many of those items come from the celebrities' publicists.
"There is a certain desperation to inject these morsels of noninformation, information into the bloodstream," he said.
But celebrities do not have to bare all in order to stay in the public eye, Dezenhall said. He cites Harrison Ford, the late Paul Newman, Jodie Foster and Meryl Streep as examples. He said Natalie Portman has been able to separate herself from other young actresses by not appearing naked on magazine covers.
"She shows it is possible to be in that world without rooting around in the great hamper of Hollywood," he said.
Celebrities like Streep and Newman have been perceived differently by the marketplace. Streep's focus when it comes to publicity, as Newman's was, is her work and not her personal life. "They're not giving the E! Channel a tour of their master bathroom," Dezenhall said.
"Someone like Jennifer Aniston, her strategy is to dive into every camera conceivable to stay relevant," he said. "There is a sunset date on being young and hot."