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Tuesday
Nov292011

Western Union Relaunches Singing Telegram Online

John Lamparski/Getty Images(ENGLEWOOD, Colo.) -- The singing telegram is back -- and you can get in on the fun with some help from mega-producer Timbaland.

The Western Union Co. plans to launch a new site Thursday -- www.wu-singingtelegram.com -- so you can send messages of love, congratulations and “Happy Birthday” with a personalized song of your own or with some star power, all via email.

Rather than Western Union employees or operators doing the performing, consumers will be able to sing themselves -- think karaoke-style -- or choose from professionals including Snoop Dogg, Timbaland, K’Naan and Sunidhi Chauhan.

“The singing telegram is a natural fit for us to help consumers around the world virtually connect with their family and friends, giving them the gift of music, their personal image and voice, to make their day better,” said Diane Scott, Western Union’s chief marketing officer and president of Western Union Ventures in a statement.

Western Union will offer a certain number of telegrams for free until Dec. 31 and then charge in 2012. Scott said the fees were still being discussed.

To create a singing telegram, users will have to upload an image of their face, select a gender and then pick the artist and song. After reviewing the completed package, the user could then email the personalized duet to family and friends. Scott said the telegram could be sent without a money transfer.

The company first introduced singing telegrams to the world in July 1933. The first one was a birthday message sent from the Western Union office in New York City. The company shut down its singing telegram in 2006.

“We’re bringing back something from our history,” Scott told ABC News Tuesday. “We’re bringing something old and making something retro almost new. It’s sending a piece of who you are [and] it transcends all cultures.”

The singing telegram is just one facet of the company’s newly relaunched “Moving Money for Better” brand, which focuses on creating “moments of better. ”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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