Poppins Redux

      28 Comments on Poppins Redux

PoppinsMy wife and I are huge fans of the 2013 film “Saving Mr. Banks” in which Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks, doggedly pursues the movie rights to P.L. Travers‘ immensely popular children’s novel, “Mary Poppins”. Disney ultimately triumphs over Travers’ strong resistance by convincing her the essence of the story is not so much about a magical nanny, but rather the redemption of George Banks, the proper, stuffy father who eventually awakens to what’s most important in his life — his children.

Mary Poppins” was the first movie my mother ever took me to see. I was 5 years old. So when ABC-TV aired it this weekend, we couldn’t resist watching. I realized much of what I know about public relations is illustrated through wise words uttered by the film’s different characters. Some examples:

  1. “Sometimes, a little thing can be quite important.” In PR, whether it be the wording in a tweet or the decor in a room, attention to detail can make a massive difference in how people perceive your clients and you.
  2. “Well begun is half done.” When handling multiple priorities, it’s easy to get distracted. PR work is never singular; multitasking is required. We can’t let distractions undermine our success.
  3. “Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can’t see past the end of his nose.” When superiors, partners or co-workers make mistakes, it’s often public relations practitioners who must serve as the conscience of their organization. We do this by simultaneously serving as the voice of our clients and the voice of their publics.
  4. “They make cages in all sizes and shapes, you know.” We can easily get trapped by hesitating to think outside the box and take risks. As professionals, we can avoid this by expanding our knowledge, attempting new techniques and understanding the constant changes around us.
  5. “Neither am I a Maypole. Kindly stop spinning about me!” We all know the rules about spin, of course.

Maybe it was “Mary Poppins” who taught me PR. Well, OK, maybe the movie laid some foundations. In your own experiences, what quotes influenced you? Your thoughts?

28 thoughts on “Poppins Redux

  1. Emily Green

    I honestly don’t remember the plot of Mary Poppins…I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen the entire movie start to finish. However, with the quotes you included, I can see how you had the foundation of PR laid out for you. I really like all of the quotes here, but my favorite is, “sometimes, a little thing is quite important.” In PR, we are trained to pay close attention to detail and that even things that seem so small can actually be big to our work.

  2. premierorion

    This post is very interesting as it makes me think about how something such as a movie has maybe helped to shape who I am today. It is possible that in the back of my mind, I am remembering something I saw from such a young age and I now unknowingly may act based on what I saw or heard such a long time ago. I can not think of a scenario in which this has happened but maybe if I go back and reminisce on some of the things I experienced early in life such as you did by re-watching Mary Poppins I will find something that has the same effect on me.

  3. Awoolman13

    I think one quote that has always resonated with me is “80% of success is showing up.” I like this quote so much because it proves that you always don’t need to the smartest person in the room to be successful. As long as you work hard and show up, you can make a good employee

  4. Sarah

    Mary Poppins is one of my favorite movies and I still go around the house singing the tunes. Now that I am looking back on the movie, I realize that Mary Poppins had many influential life lessons. The quote that resonates with me the most is “They make cages in all sizes and shapes, you know.” I love this quote because you shouldn’t have to limit yourself or feel intimidated, you should strive for the best and not let anything get in the way.

    One of my favorite quotes is from Diane Von Furstenberg, “Clarity is the most important thing. I can compare clarity to pruning in gardening. You know, you need to be clear. If you are not clear, nothing is going to happen. You have to be clear. Then you have to be confident about your vision. And after that, you just have to put a lot of work in.” This quote means so much to me because it reminds me to always focus on my dream and have tunnel vision until I accomplish my goal.

  5. Bianca

    I love this post so much! Mary Poppins is both a childhood and current favorite of mine, and Mary succeeds by her own virtue and her excellent ability to influence (and sometimes, manipulate) the people around her. There’s a great scene between her and Mr. Banks where he begins to give a speech to fire her, but she is able to cleverly sway his opinion (singing along, of course) and keep her job. It’s true, she’s practically perfect in every way!

  6. Dan Hanson

    I really like #2 (“Well, begun is half done”). There’s that old saying, “don’t start something you can’t finish.” If you begin something, then what’s the point of going about it if it isn’t going to be finished correctly? You can’t start a final exam and say at #32/60, “welp, I’m beat.” Good quote.

  7. kgorsky1

    I definitely agree that “Sometimes, a little thing can be quite important.” Often in PR the biggest mistakes are the smallest ones, which is why it is imperative for us as PR professionals to be careful and attentive to details. The smallest typo or factual error can make a huge impact on the way that your message is viewed by your audience.

  8. vciavarella24

    The quote “Sometimes, a little thing can be quite important” stuck out to me the most. This can be important in the PR world and can relate to your work ethic. In general I believe this quote can relate to anyone and how people perceive you. Little things about how you act, behave, your attributes, or even how you dress. Details are everything and everyone is different in their own way and little things can really describe a person.

  9. joebarone28

    I know it is a little delayed, but, after reading this I 100% agree with the quote: “Sometimes, a little thing can be quite important.” It is true, in PR whether it is the wording or a decoration, attention to detail is key. I live by that. I am very particular when it comes to things and everything must be in a certain way. I feel like that is how you get the best out of people. When you know a person worked to their best to their ability and stressed the little things then it shows they cared about what they were doing.

  10. zhenpanda

    “Sometimes, a little thing can be quite important.” I think little things can make a huge difference in getting the audience whether a client or a public to agree/disagree and/or feel a certain way towards a message.

  11. Lysa Carre

    “Well begun is half done.” I recently started living by this quote and am now applying it to my own life. When it comes to my job as a paralegal, I started training and obtaining those law-based skills since I was 19 years old. Therefore, getting the job done is much easier for me to pursue since I get paid for it, which enables me to obtain a fiscal reward biweekly. However, when it comes to school, I am used to maintaining an identity as a good student who is in the A-B range. However, graduate level courses did not come as easy to me what so ever and was quite challenging. As I grow older and wiser – getting to know myself in the process, I realize things that do not come as easy to me may take me a little longer to grasp in comparison to others. Also, I’ve realized academically, I spend more time thinking about the assignment; either obsessing over it to the point that I do myself a disservice by over analyzing, or I get anxious about it and accomplish nothing by letting fear take over. Nonetheless, by doing group projects for finals and being taught different ways to think and get work done, I have expanded my mind tremendously. Unlike before, I now like to take a more aggressive approach and just start writing. When I start getting my thoughts down on paper, it is then easier to reflect on the direction I am going and continue to elaborate accordingly. Therefore, my motto is “just do it” because even if you do not complete the entire task at once, at least you got started, and have less to worry about than you did before.

  12. azachar1

    Hi Professor Morosoff,

    This is such a nice blog post to end the semester. “Mary Poppins” is a classic film/musical and “Saving Mr. Banks” actually brought tears to my eyes when I saw the movie.

    My personal favorite movie quote is from “Forrest Gump” when Forrest says “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” This quote seems fitting for my life. So many amazing twists and turns have happened to me. I think it’s always wise to expect the unexpected. I never expected to find a career path that really fit my strengths and personal interests and I could not be happier to be in PR.

    Since you are a huge fan of Mary Poppins you will probably enjoy this!

  13. Kylie Todd

    If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that a lot of sayings or lessons in life that weren’t necessarily said or made for PR purposes can be related to PR. And things that are learned through the practice of PR can be applied throughout an individual’s life. From your list, the quote that inspires me the most is “Sometimes, a little thing can be quite important”. As you mentioned, this goes hand in hand with PR. A small mistake in someone’s eyes can result in an enormous backlash from the public. However, with the holidays coming up, I can’t help but to think of how this quote applies to family and friends. And how just spending time with them can make for something very special. Even in regards to schoolwork, doing little things will affect your future, like completing homework or even joining a club can result in much success and everlasting friendships. It’s really something great to think about.

  14. Pakelody Cheam

    There’s a multitude of quotes that have resonated with me throughout the years. One of the not-so-profound ones is something that Rashida Jones said in an interview. On a new role in an upcoming sitcom, Jones said “I wanted a shot, so I took a shot.” It’s resonated with me for the past year because it’s essentially saying that a person needs to go out and chase after what they want. I truly believe that if someone honestly wants something, they will get it. Not by fate, but by taking the chances that will get you there.

    From the list that Morosoff has conjured up, I really enjoy “they make cages in all sizes and shapes, you know.” After a panel last week, one of the professional journalists kept saying that if there’s no opening, then we have to create that opening for ourself. The ideas are very similar -no one is really stuck; there’s an abundance of opportunities that you just haven’t thought of yet.

  15. Jack De Gilio

    I think the quote that stood out for me was “sometimes, a little thing can be quite important.” I think it is important to know that there are people that will notice the smallest details that other people may not necessarily notice. Sometimes word choice can make a big deal, and that is why when I post something on social media, I make sure that what I am saying will not be taken out of context or misunderstood. I think it’s great that movies such as Mary Poppins can relate to fields such as PR, but in a way I feel like there are tons of TV shows and movies that subconsciously teach us lessons that can help us in our professional lives.

  16. capriceoliver

    “That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” Friedrich Nietzsche. I live by this quote because I have lived through so much and has made me strong as a rock. Struggle builds character and appreciate every bit of it!

  17. kassaramcelroy

    “Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can’t see past the end of his nose.” This quote resonates with me since it is so applicable to the field of public relations. As public relations professionals, we must give perspective that individuals may not be able to see on their own. Even if the person or company that a PR practitioner is helping is educated and smart, they may not be able to see situations from a trained public relations person with knowledge of strategy and public image.

  18. Nikita Hakels

    Well all these sayings are very wise and important in a PR perspective, the ones that I liked are:
    “Well begun is half done.” When handling multiple priorities, it’s easy to get distracted. PR work is never singular; multitasking is required. We can’t let distractions undermine our success.
    “Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can’t see past the end of his nose.” When superiors, partners or co-workers make mistakes, it’s often public relations practitioners who must serve as the conscience of their organization. We do this by simultaneously serving as the voice of our clients and the voice of their publics.

    A PR persons job is never easy we have to be focused and have to be on an alert mode 24/7 to be up to date about what’s going on in the industry. Multitasking is a one of the many key factors that will lead a PR person to success. Us as PR agent should be able to safe our organization from any sort of crisis or even small mistakes.

  19. Chelsey Fuller

    “Mary Poppins” was definitely one of my favorite movies as a kid. I mean Julie Andrews, hello?! Perfection. I remember watching it with my mom and she always reminded me about how being polite and honest were the most important lessons to learn. When I got older I saw Mary Poppins on Broadway and I couldn’t help but be reminded of how wise and thoughtful Mary Poppins was. It is funny how you have related her to PR because it makes absolute sense. Maybe we all were subtly drawn to PR because of her!

  20. jhlabella

    Coming into school I wanted to be a business major. I then took my first public relations class with Professor Frisina. Not only did i fall in love with her i fell in love with the profession. She truly inspired me with her tell it how it is, quick, and honest personality.

  21. SShak

    I believe that there is validity in each of the quotes from the Mary Poppins movie. Often times we do not realize the influence that childhood movies can have on us. I think it is important that we take into consideration the first quote because the smallest of details make all the difference with everything in life, especially PR.

  22. ChloeLauraDale

    “Saving Mr Banks” is a great film. I went to see it at the cinema, since I knew it wouldn’t disappoint with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. When watching films, it’s easy to miss the broader messages, as you get so sucked into the storyline. Looking at the quotes you pulled from Mary Poppins, I would have to say that my favorite is “well begun is half done.” Being able to balance the work loads of multiple projects is an important skill to master. At my previous internship, I was given a list of jobs to do at the beginning of the day. Some of them were small and others required more time. There was no priorities given, as they simply wanted it all sorted as soon as possible! I suddenly realised how crucial it is to make a start on as many tasks as possible. At the end of the day, even if I hadn’t finish everything, I was able to have something to show for any of the projects they wanted to check up on. It was a good learning curve for me and I enjoyed the challenge of having so much to get done. Now, I notice I do the same at school…all my homework is started, but nothing is completely finished!

  23. Judea Hartley

    I must say the quote that inspired me the most stated ”They make cages in all sizes and shapes, you know.” Many individuals and businesses actually adapt this concept and they execute this concept within their business and their personal lives. I believe that it is in our human nature to be afraid to broaden our mental horizon and expand beyond our comfort zone. However, this expansion is inevitable if one desires success on a large scale. Usually in large corporations, I would predict that once the directors and PR staff construe a blueprint for success, they stick to that exact same blueprint to ensure success. It is important to keep in mind that success requires taking risk, change, different shifts, and some discomfort. Success requires transition but some people and/or organizations may be afraid to go through the transition process because they are not sure if a new plan is going to ensure success as well. I found this quote to be very truthful and inspiring. Just because something is different doesn’t mean that its wrong, and just because an organization feels pain or suffers a crisis, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the transition process isn’t working.

  24. Katherine Hammer

    I have always loved “Mary Poppins”. A year or two ago I watched it after years of watching it as a child, and I could understand a lot more of the advice that was given in the movie. One of the quotes that stuck out to me the most was, “Sometimes, a little thing can be quite important.” In PR, like you said there is always some little thing that cannot be over looked. Every little thing counts. It will take the biggest impression on clients and the audience you are trying to reach. Another quote that stood out to me was, “Well begun is half done.” PR is full of multitasking, and you have to learn how to prioritize and organize in order to get everything accomplished. Keeping these quotes in mind can help in a future public relations profession.

  25. emilyrwalsh

    “Mary Poppins” has always been a favorite childhood movie of mine. As a child, you overlook the important points that are meant more for adults to take in. A quote that stood out to me was “sometimes, a little thing can be quite important.” As you said, PR is extremely detail oriented and it is very important that you show you clients and audience that you care. A little, personal thing can mean the world to most people. If you make people feel connected then they will react more positively to your work. I also really liked the quote “the make cages in all shapes and sized, you know.” For me, this means more than thinking outside the box, but people can have different types of personalities and as a PR person, we have to be equipped to treat everyone with respect and dignity. I love how a classic movie like “Mary Poppins” teaches us lessons that we take into the professional world.

  26. Jeff Lansky

    There are two quotes here from Mary Poppins that stood out to me. The first is “Sometimes, a little thing can be quite important.” I think this so true because the little things can actually make a good impression. When it comes to your clients you should pay attention to every little detail because people notice and often they will compliment you if you add a nice touch a piece of work or decorations.
    The second quote that stuck out to me was “Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can’t see past the end of his nose.” Everyone is going to makes me mistakes no matter what so it is the job of the pr professional to be there for their client to clean up the mess.

  27. Abby Drapeau

    Coming into college, my high school guidance counselors influenced me into doing something in the school of communication because I really wanted to do something where I can work with other people and write. My sophomore year I had my first PR class with Professor Frisina and I feel like she really inspired me to want to do PR. She really just told us how it was and it made me realize that this is the profession for me.

  28. Emily DiLaura

    I absolutely adore “Mary Poppins.” After seeing it when I was younger, I was gifted with the chance to see it on Broadway and was just mesmerized further. I saw “Saving Mr. Banks” as soon as it came out in theaters and loved that as well. Yes- I cried like a baby. I think Mary Poppins offers more advice than any woman ever. She is wise and level headed with a loving twist, which makes the movie that much better. My favorite quote from the movie that sticks with me always is “in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” It’s my little reminder to find the positive in everything I do, and also pushes me to stay true to what I enjoy. It further transfers over for me into PR, because I knew I wanted a career that I could have fun in and enjoy. Thanks Mary Poppins for unknowingly steering me into PR!


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