Advertising influences pop culture and pop culture influences advertising.
For a minute there, everyone was says Whaaazzzzzup and Got (insert anything you think of)?
Advertising did that.
And a lot of advertising is based some way on pop culture - Seen recently in Old Spice Saves The World before 2012 game
And Verizon Fios's Break Up With Cable meme campaign
And Deisel's Pre-Internet Shoe campaign
What's important to note here is how their entire campaign isn't based on the pop culture reference - the brand is still very relevant and there is usually strategic reason as to why they're using that device. Diesel's is the best example - they're relaunching a shoe from 20 years ago - before the Internet and Facebook.
Tip: An important thing to note though is that pop culture is constantly changing and what's popular this month/year will be old news soon. Imagine if you had a whole campaign around MySpace in your book. Aaaaawkward.
So while all these ideas are cool and topical, this might not be the case when you graduate or after your first year at work. Make sure you choose wisely.
The Lesson: When you're working on stuff for your book or work or whatever, make sure there's a reason you're using the pop culture reference and make sure it fits with the brand. Or any reference really - a historical character/event, a superhero, a celebrity, an elephant... Whatever it is, it needs to have a reason for being in the ad and with that brand.
You can't just use things for the sake of using them. That's called borrowed interest. It's gimmicky, lazy and sucks.