Interview with Joy Ayles of The Online Intern

The Online Intern

Coolest idea for an internship we’ve heard lately? Try being The Online Intern on for size. Joy Ayles, a self-proclaimed “advertising geek,” wanted to intern on Madison Avenue. The problem is she’s located in Manchester, UK. Well, not a problem for Ayles – she who decided she’d do it all online.

How does it work? “I will intern for a different agency a week, 9-4, Monday – Friday, for five weeks. Working on a creative brief and anything else they throw my way.”

We were dying to find out more about the project, here is our interview.

Describe yourself in 140 characters or less:

5ft 2″ geek with my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. Hit me with a ‘joy’ pun I haven’t heard and I will instantly like you.

Can you tell me a little bit about your project?

The Online Intern is a 5 week project to see if interning can be done solely online, with focus on the advertising industry. Each week a different creative brief will be worked on.  These briefs will come from five advertising agencies of whom I would be their intern on a weekly basis.  I will also work on everything else the agency wants to give me, taking on a usual intern’s role.  The catch is that I will not be in their agency, I will be working in Manchester, UK and everything will be done online – work can be emailed to me, skyped, tweeted, anything.

How did you come up with the idea for The Online Intern?

I fell in love with New York in November last year and when I came back I wanted to intern and hopefully work over there. However, finance, accommodation and visas where a problem for me to do it easily. This started me thinking as to how I could intern or work abroad, not just in New York but all over the world . I love different cultures, countries and experiences.

Secondly, I am the student rep for my university course (Advertising Design at The University of Salford) and I noticed that it was hard for students in the North West to intern in London due to the same problems of accommodation and finance.

I’ve also been working on my dissertation and researching how the digital platform has and is, affecting creativity in advertising and somewhere along the line I put all these factors together!

Are there any women (or people in general) in your life or in social media who inspired the project or helped you out along the way?

Not specifically for the project but there are a number of women who have inspired me and guided me on a number of things to do with advertising and marketing. One main woman is Jennifer Bailey, (Head of Marketing for Science, Engineering and Environment at The University of Salford) I was her assistant for a year and during that time she taught me so much; when I think about it, she taught me more than I realized!

It’s hard to specifically pinpoint who, what and how people have inspired me but there have been so many people who have gone out of their way to help me with the project and I am so grateful for their help.

What have you learned so far?

This project has taught me so much (I am in the 4th week now) from public relations to the power of social media, how different agencies work and everything I have learned from the creative briefs; it has all been a learning curve. One thing in particular is how supportive and welcoming people around the world have been, I have had some amazing support and appreciate it all.

What were your greatest challenges?

One of my main challenges was setting the website up.  I designed it but didn’t have a clue how to code it.   Luckily I found Bobbie who helped me figure this out and has been there to do all the techy side of things – couldn’t have done it without him. Apart from that I wouldn’t really say there were any major challenges. I suppose it was the initial ‘getting the word out’ but I love a bit of a challenge.  Now all I have to worry about is the challenges the agencies give me!

What would you like to share with others who might be interested in doing a similar project?

Do it! If your heart is in any project it will work if you have the passion and determination for it.

If you wanted to do something similar in terms of online internships, be strict on yourself, you have to get up in the morning and imagine you are there 9-5 and be there whenever they want you. Another tip would be know what you want to get out of it and discuss this with the agency, arrange when you are going to communicate to each other and make it as easy as possible for them.

What is the craziest goal that you’d like to accomplish in life?

I used to want to be an astronaut but sadly I don’t think that will happen. I’m a bit mad and love traveling so probably to get a stamp from every country. In terms of the world of Adland to be as successful as possible!

Many thanks to Joy for participating in this interview. If you want to learn more you can find her on twitter, facebook or her website.

Originally posted on

Jaime Hoerbelt is a senior Marketing major and Fine Arts and French minor at Hofstra University. She is graduating in May and plans to pursue a career in internet and social media marketing. She is currently working part-time at Generations Beyond. She writes her own blog at

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About the Author

Jaime Hoerbelt is the Managing Editor of the NY Creative Interns blog. She works as a Social Media Strategist at Tenthwave Digital - a digital marketing company in Manhattan. You can follow her on Twitter @jahbelt or read her blog.

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