Singing telegrams, a staple since the beginning of comedy movies, have gone digital and gained star power. The Western Union Co. today unveiled the beta of Western Union Singing Telegram, a new interactive online platform that allows consumers to create a personalized music video and virtual duet that shows them alongside the likes of K’naan, Snoop Dogg, Sunidhi Chauhan and Timbaland. The initiative is in cooperation with BMG Rights Management.

Starting off one step at a time, so far the site only offers Timbaland (pictured) performing This Lady and Drummer Boy, the first holiday song of his career. K’naan will join within the next day or two with Happy Birthday and Leaving on a Jet Plane.

On Dec. 5, Bollywood favorite Sunidhi Chauhan performing Call Me and Valentine, her first songs in English, will become available. The last confirmed artist to join before the end of the year will be Snoop Dogg performing Pretty Woman and Life of the Party.

Diane Scott, chief marketing officer and president, Western Union Ventures, issued a statement that said: “The Western Union Singing Telegram service creates a new way for consumers around the world to show their loved ones they care about them when sending the gift of cash this holiday season. 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.”

Richard Blackstone, chief creative officer, BMG North America, said his company was enthusiastic about its involvement with the Western Union Singing Telegram campaign, which he said was spearheaded by BMG’s partner Venus Brown and Stone Buddah Music. He added that this arrangement with Western Union “exemplifies BMG’s desire to be at the cutting edge of new business opportunities.”

Omnicom Group’s 180 Amsterdam developed the creative concept in its role as the global creative agency of record for Western Union Co. To the delight of trivia fans, Western Union notes that the first singing telegram ever was a birthday message sent on July 27, 1933 from its New York City office at 60 Hudson Street.

We’ve already come up with other songs we’d like to see made available. Radiohead’s Creep. The uncensored version of Cee-Lo Green’s Forget You. The possibilities are endless.

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