El Quijote frees Fariña

DDB achieves the Grand Laus at the Digital category

Fariña, the book

Cervantes’ famous knight, renowned defender of the defenceless, today supports the cause of freedom of expression. Its 377,000 words protect the 70,000 that appear in the book Fariña, by Nacho Carretero, a journalistic investigation that explores the contemporary history of drug trafficking on the coasts of Galicia.

At the beginning of 2018, Fariña was banned by the courts. This measure, which was completely disproportionate, was taken following a complaint by the ex-mayor of the town of O Grove, one of the many people who make an appearance in the text. The prohibition shocked society and became an international scandal. 

Among the many voices raised against the censorship was that of the Gremio de Librerías de Madrid, which asked DDB to create a campaign to denounce the prohibition. That’s when El Quijote steps into the picture.

The creative team came up with a digital tool that allowed Carretero’s book to be made available to the public. The web findingfariñ scanned El Quijote to find the 70,000 words that compose Fariña, giving users the chance to read the full text. The page received 60,000 visits and reached 19 million impressions in more than 130 countries. It also caught the attention of the media, with newspapers, news programmes, debates and columnists throughout the world talking about the campaign.

The courts didn’t take long to close the web, but by then it didn’t matter anymore: the message had got through. As the booksellers said, the choice of Cervantes’ work was the perfect excuse, a support that spanned four centuries to become “a metaphor for the ridiculousness of trying to suppress a book in the digital age”. After a few months, at the beginning of 2018, the Madrid Provincial Court decided to rescind the ban on Fariña.


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