Gerard is a Professor at Stirling and the Open University and Professeur Associé at the École des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique in Rennes. He worked in market research before beginning his academic career, which has focused on researching the impact of marketing on society - both for good and ill. This led to the founding of the Institute for Social Marketing and Centre for Tobacco Control Research and has involved him in advising Government and working with policy makers and civil society both nationally and internationally.
For example, Gerard was appointed as a Special Advisor to the House of Commons Health Select Committee during its separate enquiries into the tobacco (2000), food (2004), pharmaceutical (2005), and alcohol industries (2010); he has acted as a Temporary Advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) on both communicable and non-communicable disease, and he headed the team that did the world's first systematic review on the impact of food advertising on childhood obesity (later updated twice for the WHO). He has also acted as an expert witness in litigation against the tobacco industry.
Gerard was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2009 for his services to healthcare.
Gerard is interested in critical and social marketing research. The work in the former began with a focus on the marketing techniques of the tobacco, alcohol and food industries, and is now expanding to look at the wider impact of business - especially the corporate sector- on key social problems like materialism, inequality and sustainability. On a social marketing front, he is very interested in real world and multifaceted interventions that attempt to build empowering relationships with stakeholders and the public at large.