Do you recognize this man in the white "I'm Keith Fenimore" T-shirt?

Is he even somewhat familiar?

No. No one gives him a second thought here at Jim's Steaks, which he's picked for the launch of his national publicity campaign.

And that is the point.

Keith Fenimore's mug is completely unfamiliar, so he considers it the perfect blank slate for his experiment in old and new media.

He aims to become the most recognizable person in America.

More recognizable than Sarah Palin and Kim Kardashian. Bigger than Elmo. To him, they're the competition.

Fenimore is 39 and a senior producer for Howard Stern TV, the pride of New Hope-Solebury High School in Bucks County. He's created reality shows for A&E, E!, VH1, TV Guide Channel, Fox Reality, and Reelz Channel.

He is his own next production.

Even though his office is typically filled with strippers, shameless self-promoters, and sideshow freaks, Fenimore views himself as "a private person," one who lives unremarkably with his wife, 1-year-old son, and two dogs in Brooklyn, N.Y.

By private, he means he has no Facebook page, no Twitter account, no blog or website.

In this day and age, he's virtually nonexistent.

What Fenimore's got going for himself are connections and the skin of a rhinoceros.

"A good pitch is never dead," he says over a provolone steak with mushrooms. "When the timing is right, it will happen."

For months he's been wrestling with the big questions. What is the nature of celebrity? What gives buzz? What hasn't been done before?

One morning in the summer, about 3, he rolled out of bed and started pacing. On a scrap of paper he scribbled, "Media snowball effect." He'd start with a piece in his hometown paper, aiming for regional and then national attention. He'd book himself in unusual places - on the weather girl's chopper, waving on Saturday Night Live. There he is in that eponymous T-shirt.

While Fenimore has a plan, he doesn't have a program. He isn't for or against anything. He isn't selling anything.

This vacant quality, he says, is the charm of his social experiment.

Even people who are famous for merely being famous - let's take Paris Hilton - have some sliver of a narrative people can grab onto. Rich. Party animal. Sex tape.

The fame comes from their lives, which they stoke with fresh material to stay in the light.

Fenimore's quest is different; the backstory is the rush to be recognized. It's all surface - the art and science of burrowing into our communal consciousness. Although he's admittedly seeking empty calories, his ambition is interesting because it's so transparent. He'll be chronicling his milestones online.

Two parts of his pitch got to me. His wife and kid look perfectly respectable. And he included a newspaper from 1984 that pictured him and his friends, who'd gone door to door for Jerry's Kids.

Fenimore was the one on the new bike. He'd raised all but $130 of the group's $664 total. What was his secret? Gullibility. The older kids told him they'd raised hundreds, and he believed them, so he didn't come home until he'd hit more houses than the rest combined.

In person, he's affable and high-energy, alternating between black coffee and a Diet Coke while shredding his wooden stir stick to pieces.

When we are done talking, he says he'll go back to Brooklyn, open Facebook and Twitter accounts, build a website, then send alerts about "something big" to everyone he's ever met, starting locally - in Philly, New York, L.A., and Virginia, where he studied marketing - before going national.

"Someone with a talent who is thought of as a celebrity needs to be famous to build a fan base in order to sell things, be it records or movie tickets," he says. "It is business. They rely totally on being liked, praised, idolized, and revered."

None of that applies to Fenimore.

"To be recognized, I don't need to be liked or idolized or revered in any way. There are zero consequences to what Joe Public thinks of me. All that matters is that they somehow see my face and read my story. My 1-year-old idolizes me. That's all the fandom I need."

After our talk, I see him to his car on Monroe Street. He fires up his video camera to interview me about why I am interviewing him.

It's getting pretty meta when a woman and her daughter - 12, 13 years old - pass by.

"Excuse me," I say, "but do you recognize this man?"

Nope. Neither does.

I'm about to leave it at that - a baseline for his experiment - when he tells the mother he's going to appear in Thursday's Inquirer.

She takes a couple of steps, then remembers her Andy Warhol.

"You've got 15 minutes."

Contact Daniel Rubin at 215-854-5917 or drubin@phillynews.com.