NEW YORK: Havas-owned media network MPG, like the rest of the reeling ad trade, is all too conscious that the rump of 2008 and the whole of 2009 will experience the arctic chill of recession. So, what to do about it?

In Havas' case, simply battening-down the hatches and waiting for the storm to pass is not enough. Instead  it is about to launch Chrysalis, a new division specializing in out-of-home digital media. 

It will site digital screen in locations where they can't be ignored: in elevators, subways, supermarkets, gas stations and doctor's offices and so on. "It's a business that is exploding," whoops Steve Lanzano, chief operating officer at MPG North America.

This specialized sector is fast gaining momentum, thanks to the pressure on marketers to make contact with consumers – whether consumers want it or not.

Wal-Mart Stores and Kellogg are two such marketers, both having bought time on Gas Station TV, which delivers a mix of entertainment and ads on fuel pumps equipped with special 20-inch liquid crystal screens.

"This is the last bastion where the consumer doesn't have control … they can't skip the ads," says Lanzano, who intends to prove that there can be no escape by also moving into event marketing and sponsorship services.

Havas/MPG is not alone in identifying out-of-home digital as one adland's few growth sectors. CBS is already prominent in the field, as is WPP Group's Kinetic, a joint venture with Poster Publicity.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff