Yes, it is a PR problem, but that's being overcome. The college kids didn't listen to the PR when they participated in sponsored SoakerTag contests over spring break 2 years ago. The people running and gunning in NY and LA assassination games aren't listening to the PR, and they're playing WITH squirt pistols.
In each of these cases, it's not about the waterfight anymore. In the first case it's about the contest and the companionship/company, in the second it's about the contest and the MONEY. Waterwarfare as a sport will never get anywhere if people are expected to participate in it for sportsmanship's sake. It's not about the medium - when you step to a nice comfortable distance, airsoft and paintball are equally "ridiculous" games for people to participate in outside of actual combat training.
SoakerTag was a wonderful starting place, but it didn't evolve. It didn't go anywhere. There were what, 12 tournaments total, and then the next year they yanked the tags and that was the last we heard about it. For something to take off, it needs support. SoakerTag needs to make a reappearance, or Buzz Bee needs to carry the banner.
Even better than disintigrating bullseyes, go with some sort of color-change paper - I'm fairly certain there are substances that change color with water and then change back again. Instead of taping or pinning them to your clothing (pinning esp. sucks in this day when UnderArmor rules the world), put them on lanyards that you wear around your neck. Or rubber-band them over a hat or bandana.
Buzz Bee's in the perfect position to carry this forward, because they've ALMOST got the blaster power to make this interesting. They just need to step up to a few bigger sizes, something to make the big kids take a step back and go "WOW!" I realize that's not an economic step they want to take, but it's not something they have to jump into all at once. Start making soakers that have actually separate uses (the shotgun style was a great example of this BTW), that have real advantages AND limitations over others in their class, instead of just putting the same "one-size-fits-all" internals in a different chassis year after year after year after year. What really is the point of me buying more waterguns when a CPS 1200 arguably fills every conceivable role? Specialization is key here. Make people think about their loadout choice.
So specialize. Then Buzz Bee takes a bunch of their own patented BuzzBeeTags down to Jamica or the Virgin Islands or Daytona Beach. Find a beach populated with a bunch of buzzed, athletic, good-looking twenty-somethings, and give them a choice of one or two guns each from this wide variety of specialized weaponry. Find them a nice battlefield (any public park will do), set up a few video cameras, and tell everybody the last man standing gets a thousand bucks and a keg. T-shirts for everybody. Then give the film of the whole thing to MTV. Dumber things get airtime, trust me. This could get as much as half an hour. Repeat ad infinitum.
Or sponsor an assassination game. Everybody uses tags and Buzz Bee guns, and Buzz Bee fronts the prize. Lots of combinations here.
“To achieve a World Government it is necessary to remove from their minds their individualism, their loyalty to family traditions, national patriotism and religious dogma.”…..Brock Adams, Director, United Nations Health Organisation.