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Britain is still clinging to traditional lucky charms despite living in a hi-tech world, a new report by Bacardi reveals today.

70% of Scottish respondents - the highest proportion of any region in the UK - believe that traditional good luck symbols are still relevant today, compared with 57% in the South East and 50% in the North.

But somewhat surprisingly, the Scottish consider themselves to be the least superstitious in Britain with only 14% of respondents believing in good and bad luck compared to 33% of the North, who were revealed as the most superstitious in Britain.

Bacardi's survey also found distinct gender differences, with around half of all women and only a quarter of men believing in good luck momentos.

An overwhelming 75% of people in Scotland said they hung a horseshoe in their homes to 'catch' good fortune, making it the most popular choice of lucky charm. Respondents in the North tend to wear a charm bracelet and in the South it is the St Christopher that proves to be most popular.

The survey also revealed that the horseshoe is also Scotland's most renowned symbol of good fortune, compared to the rest of the UK who believe it to be the four-leaf clover; this shows that superstitions can vary greatly from region to region.

Bacardi, who commissioned the survey, has kept its famous bat logo for over 140 years as it was considered a sign of good fortune in Catalonia, the native town of the rum creator Don Facundo Bacardi. His wife discovered fruit bats living in the rafters of Bacardi's first distillery in Cuba (1862) and thought it an appropriate and instantly recognisable trademark for the largely illiterate Cuban population of the time.

Despite the old-fashioned image of good luck symbols, 48% of all respondents consider traditional symbols to be relevant today.

Britons are not alone in clinging to lucky symbols and charms which can vary greatly from country to country. New Zealanders carry a stone carving necklace when away from home, the Chinese display white china cats in their places of work and the Texans carry the penis bones of raccoons for good fortune!

Psychologist Dr David Lewis believes that more people will be turning to lucky charms as we approach the millennium.

He said: "Lucky charms all serve the same psychological purpose. They reassure their owners that good fortune will come to them or bad things be avoided, so long as it is in their possession. At times of uncertainty, there tends to be significant increase in superstitions and the use of lucky charms. Many people believe that the end of the year will trigger many natural and unnatural disasters. With so much uncertainty and apprehension in the air, it is inevitable that people with lucky charms will cling to them even more tightly while many without charms will rush out to find one.

"Freud called this type of ritual magic 'undoing', by which we seek to exert control over the future and a way of reducing daily anxiety and stress."

But it's not just people who cherish their old-time symbols; most household brands cherish lucky icons, too.

Bacardi Marketing Manager Marie Ridgley said that without recognisable symbols, brands have a greatly reduced identity amongst consumers.

She said: "A brand's icon can be likened to a personal lucky charm. Most leading brand names do have strong symbols attached to them. In consumers eyes these icons symbolise reliability, trust and a certain seal of approval. The Bat has appeared on every bottle of Bacardi since its creation, it is now so steeped in history that to remove it would be considered extremely bad luck."

Top 10 Lucky Charms in Scotland             Top 10 Lucky symbols in Scotland

1. Horseshoe                                1. Horseshoe
2. Necklace                                 2. Black Cat
3. Religious icon                           3. Four leaf clover
4. Little Stone                             4. Rabbit foot
5. Ring                                     5. Shooting star
6. Gemstone                                 6. Ladybird
7. Clothing                                 7. Penny
8. Ornament                                 8. Chicken wishbone
9. Key Ring                                 9. Magpie
10.Heather                                 10. Money spider

Note to Editors:

A picture accompanying this release is available on the PR Newswire area of the PA Bulletin Board under May 27. There is no charge for using the picture or story.

SOURCE Bacardi

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