Bermuda’s media landscape has transformed drastically in recent years, with the closure of once-formidable outlets like VSB and the Bermuda Sun signaling a fundamental shift in how Bermudians consume their information. In what is truly an “adapt or die” industry, today’s media pioneers must be bold, innovative and able to evolve with new trends almost instantaneously. One local brand that checks all of these boxes is Bermemes, the award-winning web and social media juggernaut that has grown into an outright cultural phenomenon since introducing itself to the public in 2012.
Headed by social media influencer Dejon Simmons and radio personality Qian Dickinson, Bermemes has an average of nine million organic, non-sponsored views per month across all of its platforms, an astounding number when you consider Bermuda’s size and population. They retain this level of brand loyalty by producing truly engaging content that celebrates Bermuda culture in all its forms, and though they originally started as solely a satire/comedy site, they’ve since expanded into mini documentaries, in-depth interviews, political commentary, local cuisine appreciation and more.
“The brand started by creating and distributing memes, focusing on humorous and light-hearted content,” says Simmons of Bermemes’s origins. “Presently, whether we are cracking jokes or tackling serious topics head-on, our fundamental approach remains to produce content that is visual, engaging and easy to consume.” Tuned in to the fact that audiences are increasingly resistant to having media content forced upon them, Bermemes understands that consumers appreciate when a brand makes a sincere effort to establish a genuine connection. To this end, they have built up a truly grassroots following by encouraging people to interact with their content and share their thoughts and experiences. “What we create and post daily has a huge impact on the current zeitgeist of our community. People are constantly sending things to us to share as well.”
As a mobile and social-first platform, Bermemes has a particularly strong appeal to the younger generation. “Recently, social media has outstripped TV and traditional news globally as the primary source of information for young people, and we recognise that,” acknowledges Simmons. By producing content that focuses heavily on highlighting influential and inspirational young people, the brand is able to stay above the fray of negativity and cynicism typically associated with conventional journalism. “Young people see themselves on our platform like nowhere else, in a positive light.”
Bermemes has also proven to have a penchant for event coverage. In 2017 they were an official local media partner for the 35th America’s Cup, where they used their platform to highlight Bermudians working behind the scenes to make the event possible during the lead-up, as well as by covering the event village vendors and entertainment. Since 2016 they have been official social media partners for the annual Cup Match Classic, offering play-by-play action from their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and even a live stream of last year’s event in St. George’s where they were able to broadcast to the world what was happening both on and off the cricket field.
The brand is currently working on numerous community projects with the government, and have launched a new and ongoing video series called “Minutes with the Minister” that provides insight on newly appointed government ministers, highlighting present and upcoming initiatives while offering transparency to their younger demographic. Each episode debuts on the Bermemes Facebook page, but is also available on the government’s Facebook pages, as well as CITV on cable.
Thinking to the future, Bermemes has recently launched a platform called BermudaX, which focuses on aerial photography and video to showcase Bermuda from all angles. By obtaining their certified drone licence, they are now able to offer this as an additional service to their clients. Beyond this, they aim to continue to develop themselves as a company that is a leading catalyst for driving media and innovation in Bermuda. “Future generations will depend on technology for communicating their thoughts, ideas and information and so our mission is to keep our history and culture relevant by staying connected and engaged with them,” states Simmons.