After beginning his career as a medical copywriter, Williams took a job at Gordon & Gotch before becoming the managing director of DJ Keymer.
Williams bought the agency from its parent company, SH Benson, and changed its name to David Williams & Partners. He later sold a stake to the US-based Ketchum Communications.
Williams also took an active role in the IPA, and was at one time its youngest council member.
He was a fierce advocate of advertising as a socially valuable profession, and stressed that fuelling mass production meant the spread of wealth and prosperity throughout the world.
Peter Mead, who worked for Williams in the 60s said: "David was an influential person in my business life and was largely responsible for ironing out my rough edges. He was a classic adman, in whom personality and hard work were twinned."
As well as having a successful career in advertising, Williams was a well-respected crime writer. He started to write novels in his spare time as an antidote to the declining creative aspect of his job at a large agency, and published his first in 1976.
After suffering a stroke in 1977, Williams concentrated full-time on his writing, and claimed that creative thinking played a large part in his recovery. His accountant estimated that changing his career from that of successful advertising executive to author cost him around £2 million, but Williams replied that he always knew advertising paid better than crime; he only regretted having had to prove it.
He is survived by his wife, daughter and son.