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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Western Union Tries To Freshen Up The Singing Telegram

Snoop Dogg at the Snoop Dogg Supafest 2011.(Eva Rinaldi)

Snoop Dogg at the Snoop Dogg Supafest 2011.(Eva Rinaldi)

Western Union, the telegraph and global payment company, is bringing back its singing telegram. And they’re adding some glitz.

Instead of being serenaded on your birthday by a Western Union representative, now the likes of rappers Snoop Dogg or K’naan will wish you well–though they won’t actually show up on your doorstep, the greetings are delivered via email.

And the celebs aren’t singing alone– the person sending the telegram gets to add their voice too, creating a duet of sorts.

Singing telegrams first started in 1933 and Western Union ended the service in 2006 to focus on its money transfer business.

“We’re bringing them back in a virtual and social way, in tune with the times,” Diane Scott, executive vice president of Western Union in Englewood, Colo. told the New York Times.

Right now the telegrams are free, but Western Union plans to begin charging eventually.

Guest:

  • Pat Vialpando, who used to deliver singing telegrams the old fashioned way

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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